Paris Saint-Germain manager Unai Emery believed Neymar’s red card was unfair but took satisfaction from his team’s character after they salvaged a 2-2 draw at Olympique Marseille.
The world record Brazilian signing reacted to a late challenge by Lucas Ocampos and sent the Argentine tumbling to the ground to earn himself a second yellow card three minutes from time.
But Ligue 1 leaders PSG showed their fighting spirit to come away from the Stade Velodrome with a point thanks to Edinson Cavani’s late free-kick.
Emery defended Neymar afterwards, saying the £198million man was singled out for rough treatment throughout a fiery contest.
He said: ‘We are a little disappointed about the sending off because he was fouled a lot throughout the match.
‘I think the referee [Ruddy Buquet] also needs to think well. We must protect the players.
‘The yellow card, I think it’s not fair to Neymar. He’s a player who wants to play, but if every game he is provoked… [there will be] aggression. I think it’s a job to protect the important players in both teams.’
Luiz Gustavo gave Marseille a first-half lead, only for Neymar to equalise. Florian Thauvin thought he’d won the contest 12 minutes from time but 10-man PSG salvaged a point thanks to Cavani’s 93rd-minute leveller.
The result kept PSG four points clear at the Ligue 1 summit, but they will be without Neymar for Friday night’s home match with Nice.